Full Vineman Triathlon - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Guerneville, California
United States
70F / 21C
Total Time = 12h 17m 10s
Overall Rank = 198/574
Age Group = 35-40
Age Group Rank = 48/112
Pre-race routine:

Woke up around 1:50 am and my heart was pounding. Visited the BR several times to make sure I was emptied out (if you know what I mean). Forced down a banana and two Trader Joe's fig bars. This was a huge improvement over my last Ironman in which I wasn't able to get anything down at all. I am an extremely nervous person when it comes to racing. I almost threw up in the shower and was visibly shaking as I got my stuff together and packed the car. Left the hotel room at 4:30 and drove about half an hour to the swim start.
Event warmup:

Stood around for about fifteen minutes in the dark and waited for transition to open at 5:30. Talked with a couple of nice people which helped to calm my nerves a little bit. Set up my T1 gear right next to the changing tent. Peed one last time, had a Gatorade Pre-Fuel, and put on my wetsuit. Kissed my supportive wife and ran down to the river edge for a 6:33 am wave start.
  • 1h 16m 22s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 49s / 100 yards

I PR'd this swim by over 12 minutes from my last Ironman. Did lots of 4000m open water swims during the weeks leading up to the race. This helped a ton! No time to warm up between the start waves. No time to even think about what was happening once the preceding wave took off. Before I knew it, the gun went off and so was I! Swam hard at the start and found a little bit of room. Nerves instantly calmed down. Found a great rhythm at about 300 m and settled into my usual three breaths to the right, three breaths to the left, and then spot. Took a lot of elbows to the back of the head and had a lot of people grabbing and pulling my legs. I didn't let it bother me, though. Not true; I did have BRIEF fantasy of punching a couple of guys in the back of the head, grabbing their goggles, throwing them, and pushing them under the water.

The river was shallow enough to walk in sections, but I kept on swimming. Lots of dudes were walking and a few were dolphin diving. I came to the swim portion of the race to swim - and so I did. There would be enough time later on to use my legs.
What would you do differently?:

Not too much. Perhaps try to avoid drinking so much of the Russian River. Guarding my face so my goggles didn't get knocked near the end of the swim. Luckily they stayed on and remained leak free, even though they were crooked.
Transition 1
  • 07m 53s

Suit came off easily without any help. Jumped into the potty and peed real quick, dashed over to the changing temp and put on some nice dry, cushy bike shorts, downed another Gatoarde Pre-Fuel, rinsed off my feet, got my bike stuff together, and was ABC you later! One spectator tried to help me slip on my tri-top, but I didn't want to get penalized for outside help.
What would you do differently?:

Wish I could pee while swimming to avoid the time spent in the bathroom during T1, but it was not to be.
  • 6h 30m 16s
  • 112 miles
  • 17.22 mile/hr

It was 56 degrees and raining when I hopped onto the bike. I was a cold little person! Paced well the first loop and thought I was going to go 6:15 for the bike. Then the wind picked up drastically on the second loop. It was Silverman all over again. Hills and headwind for the last 30 miles. Even the downhill sections were slow due to the headwind. I remained composed and only had fleeting thoughts of jumping off of my bike and throwing it into the vineyards. I took in very little fluids on the bike, but was still had to stop and pee twice (both times clear). When I'm cold and shivering, I have to pee more often. I figured out the physiology of this phenomenon, but I won't include it here :) I only passed 9 people overall on the bike, but I didn't care. I knew the guys who were hammering were going to pay on the run. I just didn't know how much they were going to pay until I saw them later on.

I forced in some form of nutrition every 25 minutes, no matter what! This was part of my plan that I'm glad I stuck to. Eating is hard for me, especially as the mileage begins to add up.
What would you do differently?:

Bring my arm warmers! There is nothing I could have done to save my bike split. I could have doubled my effort and fought the wind, with marginal returns. Kept thinking to myself, "Better not roll the dice now and lose out on the run later on."
Transition 2
  • 07m 8s

Long run from the timing mat to the bike rack, which made for a long T2. Powered up my Garmin, drank another Gatorade Pre-Fuel, quickly changed into my compression running shorts, loaded up seven Hammer-Gels, went to pee again, and I was off and running!
What would you do differently?:

Pee while riding the bike to save time, but it was so cold out and I didn't want to be wet with cold wind blowing across me.
  • 4h 15m 31s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 45s  min/mile

My goal was to run a 4:15 marathon which I missed by 31 seconds. I'll take it though! I didn't get this run time the way I had hoped to. I cleared the first 13.1 miles at exactly two hours. The hills killed me on the second half of the course. I approached the "line" (not the wall) at mile 14, rather than mile 18. Things became very, very difficult here. I stayed true to my plan no matter what! Gel every thirty minutes, even if it meant gagging. Gatorade at every aid station. Dumping water on my head every aid station to stay cool. Keep the heart rate down, even when I felt like I could go faster. No walking at all during the run, except for walking the aid stations when absolutely necessary (I only walked through four of them total beginning at mile 17). I waited until I was 0.7 miles from the finish before I kicked, with what little kick I could muster. The last 0.2 miles my hands, arms, and face went numb. I was lightheaded, but sprinted across the finish. I cried and embodied all the physical pain. I chased that feeling for over 12 hours, and it was worth it!
What would you do differently?:

Pick a race with a flat run course. I can run a consistent and comfortable pace on a flatter course, even on tired legs. The hills on this course were huge! Very steep ups and downs, not really rolling. On a stand alone running race, I can make up a lot of time on the downhills, but on tired and screaming legs, I was unable to cruise on the downhills. I gave this run everything that I had and then some. I was one of the few people out there running the entire distance. My pride would not let me stop. I have never expereinced such excruciating and potentially debiliatating pain in my entire life and continued to push through it. My left knee felt like it was going to explode, while I was sure that my hip sockets were wearing away. I'm happy to report that there was no explosion in my knee and the bone on bone sensation in my hips is fading.

I was not in the heads of the other athletes out there, but I'd like to tell myself that very few of them would have chosen to fight on the way that I did on that run. If they had, then there would have been more people running! From time I got off the bike until the time I crossed the finish line, I passed 225 people, many of them fit dudes walking talking about what an awesome bike split they had!
Post race
Warm down:

Ate two bites of chicken that tasted like it was soaked in lighter fluid. Hobbled to T2 to pick up all my gear, and then walked a mile to the car! Had two Doulbe Doubles, fries, and a Coke at In And Out on the way bike to the hotel. Got cleaned up and went to bed next to my beautiful wife!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Probably bike fitness. I have read that bike fitness will transfer better over to run fitness rather than the other way around. I have been a pseudo runner my entire life, but have only begun biking about two and a half years ago, when I got into the sport of thriathlon. All training is cummulative, and with time, my bike will improve.

Event comments:

Triathlon is a life style. At times, it has consumed my life at the expense of other areas of my life. I still manage to do well at my job, keep up with laundry and errands, and even lay on the couch and watch a little TV, but my attitude towards life often times suffers. On the run course, I had a spiritual experience in which I saw just how full my life is. Specifically, my thoughts focused in on what an amazing, patient, and supportive wife that I have. I have missed her, even thought I have seen her every day. She is my best friend, and biggest supporter/fan. I couldn't have trained and raced two Ironmen over the past year without her in my life!

In time (I imagine it will be a very short time), the memories of the pain will fade and the insanity will once again set in. When this happens, I will probably find myself signing up for IMAZ 2012?!

A final thought...there are some who say that anyone can train and race an Ironman. Some even go as far to say that it is easy. My personal belief...not true. If it were, then there would be a lot more people doing it!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2011-06-27 12:00 AM
01:16:22 | 4224 yards | 01m 49s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/112
Overall: 432/574
Performance: Good
Suit: Yes
Course: Two loops out and back in the Russian River. Narrow course with light current on the way out. Overcast, so glare wasn't an issue. Very well marked! Beautiful swim course!
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 72F / 22C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 07:53
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
06:30:16 | 112 miles | 17.22 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/112
Overall: 423/574
Performance: Average
Wind: Headwind with gusts
Course: Two loops of rolling hills with a few memorable climbs at miles 47 and 100.
Road: Potholes Wet Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 07:08
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
04:15:31 | 26.2 miles | 09m 45s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/112
Overall: 198/574
Performance: Good
Course: Three tips out and back of "rolling hills." Total climbing: 2527 feet per my Garmin.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5